Penitentiary City: Kingston and Its Penitentiaries
While penitentiaries are a part of Kingston’s fabric, the relationship between Kingston and its penitentiaries is complex. They are important employers, and many families have connections to people incarcerated or formerly incarcerated there, but the penitentiaries are largely invisible to the majority of residents. At the same time, many local people work with incarcerated people through Queen’s University, such as with the Prison Law Clinic, or volunteer with community organizations, such as the John Howard Society or Alternatives to Violence.
A new display in the Lederman Law Library shows some of the books, reports, and journals related to Kingston’s penitentiaries. Written by students, professors, volunteers, guards, the prisoners themselves and their loved ones, they give a glimpse into these institutions that have shaped Kingston since before Confederation, and even before Queen’s was founded in 1841.